A woman said she was working behind the counter at a bank in Vista, two years ago, when a man put a bag onto her countertop and said, “Give me all your money.” The bank teller testified at a preliminary hearing in San Diego’s North County Superior court on Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
The teller said she “froze,” and the man put one hand onto his hip and said, “Give me your money, I have a gun” and “You want to keep everyone safe.” The witness said she never saw a gun.
The man was disguised with a long-haired wig and dark sunglasses and a fedora hat, according to testimony. However, the teller said that after she stuffed $8,000 into the bag and the man left the bank, a sudden gust of wind blew off his hat and wig and she was able to get a good look at his face.
Earlier that same day, other bank employees had walked past a man who appeared asleep inside his Toyota 4Runner, after he backed his car into a spot in the bank’s lot, according to testimony.
In court this week, different bank employees identified defendant Paul Owens as the man who was first seen asleep in the parking lot, and then inside at the counter, robbing a teller.
Paul Ryan Owens, 39, denied he was the one who robbed the BBVA Compass bank on December 14, 2015.
The bank teller said the robber also showed her a handwritten note which said GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY, and then he quickly covered that note with a BBVA Compass magazine which he apparently had picked up in their lobby.
(Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina is an international bank which owns BBVA Compass, an obscure collection of banks and insurance companies with branches here in the United States.)
San Diego County Sheriff’s detective Mark Paquette responded to the BBVA Compass bank located at 961 South Santa Fe Avenue in Vista. The detective said he was able to recover the magazine handled by the robber and send it to the Sheriff’s crime lab. One fingerprint was found and entered into AFIS, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System; a match popped up months later, in March 2016.
Remarks by attorneys indicated that the FBI was first going to handle prosecution of this case, as a bank robbery, but that changed.
Prosecutor Min Yoon charged Owens with one count of felony robbery. Moon alleged this is a three-strikes case, declaring that Owens has convictions in San Diego County since 1998, when he was 19 years old. Some of the alleged prior convictions include another robbery when he was 22 years old; plus grand theft, stolen vehicle, possession of meth for sale, making criminal threat, burglary, and stolen vehicle.
Owens is held without bail and is next due in San Diego’s North County Superior courthouse on August 15, 2018.